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Gear: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
This is a section for Will Blanchard and the other AVA guides to offer their professional opinions on various outdoor products. This will include fly rods, reels, waders and boots as well as drift boats, rafts and pack rafts (like inflatable kayaks, but better). The guides will also offer tips on travel, as well as services and lodges that might be of interest to you. Please feel free to drop us a line with your input, recommendations and questions. Have a product you want us to test, review and showcase here at gottrout.com? Let us know. 970.259.0484. Or send an e-mail.

Vanquish Reel from Waterworks Lamson
As the name implies, Waterworks created the Vanquish reel with just one thing in mind – total victory. And as the “form follows function” zealots they are, it all starts with the world’s smoothest, and now much larger and more powerful drag system. Delivering twice the torque of he previous WWL saltwater design, the Waterworks conical drag generates no stick-slip even at the line-snapping rates required by blue water anglers.
To support this kind of torque, a new, much stiffer frame was created – one that transmits extreme loads with a simple, efficient and graceful structure.

Features:

  • Integrated foot/frame which, while stronger than a traditional fastened-on foot, also raises the center of mass of the reel, improving casting ease and accuracy.
  • Machined from solid, modular stainless stripping arm on V12 and V10.
  • Proprietary Hard Alox finish.
  • Large, ergonomic, self lubricating no-slip handle.
  • Tandem roller clutch transmits higher torque and provides redundancy.
  • Fully sealed, zero maintenance drag components.

This reel rocks...super light and strong as hell. The price tag is unforgiving, but so is the reel especially when 30 pound steelies are involved! Waterworks

Simms G3 Bootfoots/with Muck® Wetland™ Boots
Gear Review: Will Blanchard (Steelie fishing in BC late September to late December)
As a steelhead bum, I live in my Simms waders. They are on, more than they are off. The new G3s, with the Muck boot are the perfect combo. I wear a thick Simms sock and a thin pack liner to keep my feet toasty on the most frosty of days. These are theSimms offers nearly their entire line of waders in a custom-built bootfoot through their custom bootfoot program. They have teamed up with Muck® boots to offer today's angler and duck hunter the best bootfoot waders ever built.
Muck Wetland™ boots are rugged, durable, comfy and very warm. Waterproof, comfortable and light, this boot is ideal for fishing and can withstand temperatures as cold at 20 degrees below zero. Key features include a breathable Airmesh™ lining that wicks away moisture and a contoured footbed for maximum comfort and support. Any steelie junky and cold weather angler will be grin in' ear to ear in the foulest of weather.

• Durable QuadraLam™ fabric featuring Thermotron® technology for superior heat absorption and storage
• Bi-component fabric construction absorbs sweat and pumps moisture away from the body
• Heavy-duty front leg panel offers exceptional abrasion resistance
• Fleece-lined hand warmer pocket features interior compartments for hand-warmer inserts
• Exterior chest pocket with zippered closure
• Boots are lightweight vulcanized construction with fleece-lined spacer mesh and 7mm neoprene
• Available in felt or lug sole
in whole sizes only (men’s sizes 7-14)
• Nylon wading belt included
• Every pair manufactured & tested in Bozeman, Montana

Retail price: $399.95 plus $100 for custom boot.

Best Simms wader ever built. I'm not even paid to say that. From ripping around in a jet boat to thrashing through the bush these waders held up in every situation. The waders were toasty even with water temps ranging from 45 F to 34 F. The coldest day was -15 C (5 F) with the water temp around 38 F. Warm, dry and comfy, what more can I say?

UPDATE (Fall 2010)
Simms will be putting a hold on the production of bootfoot waders. They are switching to Boggs (great boots) with felt-free soles! Stay tuned for more info.

PDATE (Winter 2013)
Simms will not be offering a bootfoot any time soon. Too bad.

Korkers Guide Boot with Boa Lace Technology
Review:Will Blanchard 2-07 (updated 12-19-09)
Retail Price $159.99

The Korkers Guide Boot offers the most versatile footwear systems on the market. Teamed with the Boa Lace system and OmniTrax V2 technology, Korkers offers today's adventure angler 8 different accessory soles to choose from. That's right, soles that you can switch out in seconds. Hike for miles on a sole with trail lugs, then switch out to felt soles for the stream. Or the new extra sticky Kling-On soles (the best way to keep aquatic hitch-hikers from your home waters). Need studs, or spikes? No problem these soles are also available. Golf and boat deck soles are also available. Interchangeable soles, sturdy construction, light weight and way cool; Korkers is setting the bar pretty high. These boots might not be as durable as the boots over at Simms, but they are worth a look. For more info on great wading boots click Korkers.